What to do, what to do, if you're the Boston Bruins and pending unrestricted free-agent winger Loui Eriksson remains unsigned into Monday, as the clock ticks down to the 3 p.m. ET trade deadline?
As far as I can ascertain, Bruins GM Don Sweeney has prepared for all three options on the Eriksson front: get him signed to an extension; keep him past the deadline and hope it's worth it to make the playoffs and maybe win a round or two, and also use the extra months to get him signed; or trade him.
To me, the final option seems the most likely, even for a team that's sitting in a playoff spot.
The reason I feel that way is that Sweeney is in his first season at the helm of the Bruins. His mandate is to retool the team on the fly, which suggests the big-picture vision should trump any short-term goals.
Of course, it's all a moot point if Sweeney can get Eriksson signed in the next few days, but that would mean either convincing Eriksson to come down on term for a shorter deal, or the B's being willing to go longer term. Either way, the length of a potential contract is an issue.
From talking to other sources around the league, Boston is a very active team on the phones, not only to gauge the trade market on Eriksson, but also because they will be looking to add pieces too, particularly on defense.
Keep in mind, the Bruins already have two first-round picks this June, their own plus the San Jose Sharks' pick from the Martin Jones deal. So the Bruins don't necessarily need another high pick in a deal for Eriksson, but they could use a young player instead. Unless, of course, they turn around and use the high pick from an Eriksson trade to then deal for a defenseman.
Whatever the outcome, it's going to be an interesting few days, to say the least, for the Bruins' first-year GM.
- TheLos Angeles Kingswere looking hard at the market for the longest time, wondering what might make sense in terms of a defenseman. But a source suggested to me Tuesday evening that Kings GM DeanLombardi has decided the high prices on the thin rental-defenseman market might not be worth it. I still think Lombardi is willing to add a defenseman if the price is modest, but I don't think he's going to be as aggressive as he was last year, when he went forAndrej Sekerafor a first-roundpick. In addition to the potential of adding on defense,the Kings could also add up front to help fill the void left by the injured Marian Gaborik. One name I've heard that could be on the radar for the Kings is that ofEdmonton Oilers pending unrestricted free agentTeddy Purcell, although it's a deep rental forward list this year, so the Kings have lots to pick from if they do go after a winger.
- You often hear about the NHL coaching world being a tight fraternity. That was exemplified again in the wake of Mike Yeo's firing by theMinnesota Wild. Michel Therrien, Mike Babcock, Claude Julien, Jon Hynes,Dan Bylsma,Todd Richards, Dave Tippett and other coaches and front-office execs all were quick to reach out to Yeo to offer comfort and guidance.
"As soon as it happened, it's amazing how many awesome people are in this game," Yeo said over the phone Wednesday, making the media rounds for the first time since his dismissal on Feb. 13. "A lot of people that I barely know, people that I don't know, people that I have an incredible amount of respect for reaching out to me. So you look at it and you say, 'If this guy has gone through it, you can't take it personally.' They all said the same thing, that I'll be better for it. I already feel that, to be honest. I know I'll be better in my next job."
No question he'll be better for it. Yeo has a sharp coaching mind, and he'll be able to grow and learn from his first NHL experience. The next team that hires him will be a lucky one. Still, while he could see the writing on the wall, he said when he was fired, it still hit hard.
"I've never been through this, 20-some-odd years in the game, never been traded, never been fired," said Yeo. "I thought I was prepared for it, but I wasn't prepared for what it would feel like. It was tough. A lot of bad feelings for a few days, and just a few days ago I woke up and I was back. I'm in a good spot. Regrets have turned into knowledge, lessons for the next job. I'm just excited for the next challenge."